Sony Bravia KDL40W605 review: A mid-range TV that scores highly for both picture quality and price

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The Good This set's ability to produce pictures with deep black levels and pleasingly accurate colours help it stand out from the mid-range crowd. Add in its good lineup of ports and easy to use menu system and you've got an impressive TV.

The Bad The smart TV system isn't as good as Samsung's smart offering and it is sometimes unresponsive to the remote for several seconds after coming out of standby. The lack of 3D support may be an issue for some too.

The Bottom Line If you're after excellent picture quality at a reasonable price, the KDL-42W705 really delivers. It lacks extras such as 3D support and advanced motion processing, but its price reflects this and overall picture quality is still very strong.

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8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6.9
  • Performance 8.1
  • Value 8.8

Review Sections

The KDL-40W605 sits towards the bottom of Sony's 2014 line-up of TVs. It's no surprise then to find that it lacks some extra bells and whistles -- it doesn't have 3D support and its motion processing is quite basic too.

It's relatively cheap for a Sony TV though, as you can pick it up for £479, and it still includes Sony's smart TV system as well as its X-Reality Pro processing engine. Its siblings further up the Sony TV chain, such as the W705 and W829 have been impressive in terms of picture quality, so can this cheaper model pull off the same trick?

TV guide

It's all change for the user interface Sony is using on its TVs this year. Out goes the Metro-style interface from last year and in comes a new layout that's more similar to Samsung's smart TV system. Now when you hit the Home button it calls up a series of Samsung-like pages that you can scroll left and right on to access features such as the smart TV apps, Sony's Video Unlimited on-demand film service as well as the Settings menu.

As with all of Sony's TVs, the settings menu lacks an advanced colour management system, but it still includes more standard controls for colour, contrast and brightness, as well as offering relatively fine control over the X-reality Pro picture processing engine.

If you don't want to dive into the main Homescreen you can also access the Scene modes -- presets covering both picture and sound settings -- or just the picture controls directly, via the Option button on the remote.

Sony's guide looks tidy and is speedy to use, but it lacks a video thumbnail window. Niall Magennis/CNET

Like the W705, this model includes both a standard Freeview TV guide and a fancier Web-enabled guide. The latter isn't worth bothering with though. It may offer you more information on upcoming shows, as it includes metadata on directors and actors, but it's very slow to load.

The standard Freeview guide is much better. It's faster to use -- jumping between channels and shows is speedy -- and the layout is clean and simple. It's annoying that it lacks a video thumbnail window though, as that's something the guides on most other manufacturers' TVs now offer.

One oddity with the user interface, which I've noticed on other recent Sony TVs, is that when it's woken up from a long period on standby it can take several seconds to fully respond to the remote, especially when it comes to loading the smart TV interface or even changing the AV input. It's irritating, as it's not something that affects other big brand TVs.

Design and connections

This year Sony seems to have some objection to building power supplies into its TVs. The W605, just like the W829 and W705, has an external power supply. Sony is the only major manufacturer of TVs that does this and I really can't understand why, as it's a messy approach. The W605 is also slightly chunkier on the rear than the W705, has a wider bezel, and the construction feels a fair bit more plasticky too.

Nevertheless, when viewed from the front it's not a bad looking set thanks to its clean lines and elegant wire-type stand. The stand is also clever because it can double up as a wall mount, although this also means that the TV lacks standard VESA holes, so can't be used with normal wall mount brackets.

The set's helping of four HDMI and two USB ports is fairly generous at this price point. Niall Magennis/CNET

Despite the fact that this TV sits nearer the bottom of Sony's line-up, it's certainly not lacking in ports. Around the back you'll find four HDMI and three USB ports as well as a full-sized Scart socket, optical audio output and a set of component inputs. There are both wired and wireless networking options too and the TV supports Miracast so you can mirror Android tablets and smartphones to the display.

This model has a satellite tuner sitting alongside the Freeview HD tuner, but unfortunately this satellite tuner is not Freesat compatible, so it's not all that useful in Blighty -- UK channels are tuned in a random order and the TV guide doesn't populate properly.

Smart TV

For this year's smart TV upgrade Sony has changed the layout of the menus, creating a more page-like structure that's similar to Samsung's system. There's a dedicated page for Sony's Video Unlimited video on demand service for example, as well as the pages for the digital media player and smart apps.

Sony has also added a couple of extra features. There's now a Discover button on the remote that calls up a banner at the bottom of the screen showing you suggested content that you might want to watch. Also new is the Football mode, again accessed via a dedicated button on the remote, that selects audio and video pre-sets designed to show the beautiful game at its best.

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